Why Attic Pull-Down Ladders Should be Installed Professionally

Leave installing a pull-down ladder for your attic to the experts! Here's why:

Attic pull-down ladders are collapsible ladders that are permanently attached to the attic floor. In Florida, where there is little storage available, many homeowners install these so they can access their attic for additional storage.

The challenge with these ladders is that typically the homeowner installs them and end up doing something to weaken the structure or install them with improper fasteners.

Often, homeowners will cut through a structural member (a beam or truss) while installing a pull-down ladder, unknowingly weakening the structure. You should never cut into a beam without consulting a structural engineer.

Homeowners often use drywall or deck screws rather than the standard 16d penny nails which can reduce the strength and may not support the ladder properly.

Lack of insulation. Hatches in many houses (especially older ones) are not likely to be weather-stripped and/or insulated. An uninsulated attic hatch allows air from the attic to flow freely into the home, which may cause the heating or cooling system to run overtime.

One of my favorites is when the attic pull-down ladders are cut too short. The stairs should reach the floor.

Conversely, when the attic pull-down ladders are cut too long. This causes pressure at the folding hinge, which can cause breakage.

If you have a wooden ladder, often times the stairs crack. This happened to mine and I decided to upgrade to an aluminum ladder, which was much more sturdy and lasts twice as long.

In summary, attic ladders are great as a means to get up in your attic whether it is for maintenance or storage, but leave the installation to the professionals!


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Joe Nugent, owner of Inspector Gadget Home Services, is a certified home inspector by the state of Florida and InterNACHI. With 120+ hours of training, he is qualified to inspect homes inside and out. He also has 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry.